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November 2012
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Entertaining, heartbreaking, joy and tears. Just as real life…

By Walter Broeckx

Looking back one last time to last weekend…

Haven’t seen anything since coming home after being awake for 23 hours to see Arsenal play in a game. The longest trip ever made by the Arsenal Benelux that I know.

Let me start with the bad things: we didn’t win. We should have won the game but we failed. We had enough chances and the best one of course in the ultimate seconds. This all lead to a feeling of defeat at the end of the game.  I can imagine the usual people declaring the end of the universe.

In the first half I have seen a team that scored rather easy. Two well taken goals by Giroud and Podolski.  But what struck me then was the attitude of a part of the crowd in the stadium. Last week we had a few people from those who visit the games. They were having a bit of an attitude that those not attending the games should shut up because they paid the money to get inside the ground so they were the ones that were being ripped off. SO WHY TH F*CK DIDN’T YOU GET BEHIND THE TEAM WHEN WE WERE 2-0 UP?????

Telling people to shut up because they cannot attend the games is one thing, but where you amongst those few who attempted to support the team at that point? I did. And lots of those sitting on our coach did the same. But far too many just sat there. So it was a very strange affair when we were 2-0 up and the Emirates just being very silent.  If those silent tell me they knew Fulham would come back to 2-2 they should have opened their mouth and should have been behind the team to lift it. I really don’t know if it was the strange atmosphere at the time that pulled the team back or just the thought of:  okay we 2-0 up, we have had a hard game during the week so let us try to sit back a bit.

No matter what or  how we just let Fulham get back in to the game. They accepted the gift and some sloppy defending saw us concede two goals.  A real game was on. I can imagine a neutral spectator watching the game and enjoying every minute of it.  I noticed a few heavy legs in our team and wondered if we would cope with it physically.

And it turned in to a real test of strength when we fell behind after a penalty. The crowd finally got behind the team in the second half. And I think the way we reacted to falling behind was wonderful. We suddenly went in to a higher gear and gave all we got. Giroud hitting the post and Walcott putting the ball back in for Giroud to head it home.

The team went for the winner and we should have won it when Dowd gave us our first penalty at home in the EPL since the season 2010-2011. Thanks Phil for allowing me this historic moment.  As we know there are only two sorts of penalties. The one that go in are always good given penalties. The one that are missed are not good given penalties. So we can qualify the one from Arteta as a bad one.  Leaving us with a bad taste in our mouth.

But I prefer to have a look at the good things. We are creating chances again. That is always a good sign. We had a few games when we created nothing. I said at the time that this was down to the fact we had no real speed on the flanks. With Theo, The Ox, Gervinho and Gibbs all being out at the time this was normal. Now we are seeing two of them coming back (in fact just one as The Ox still had to face a fitness test this weekend) but we could use some speed on the flank in the last two games.  And the creating chances came back, and the goals scoring came back.

We still could use a few fresh legs in midfield for the moment. Some old and experienced legs if possible. Why not someone like Rosicky who is back training with the team.  I think Cazorla and Arteta could use a breather.  With players like Rosicky and Diaby back this could happen. The first one almost back but what about the second one?

But the best part for me was the fact that the team didn’t accept defeat when we went 2-3 down. How big the mental blow was going from 2-0 up 2-3, we stood up, dusted ourselves and gave it the best we got.

Was it perfect? Of course not. But Arteta scoring his penalty would have been an amazing comeback.  And I can only praise the team for getting themselves back in to that position after seemingly having thrown away the game in the first place.  If we just would have rolled over after going 2-3 down I would be very worried right now.

Now I know this team will fight for it.  And a team that wants to fight is never beaten. They fought back and crawled out of the hole they had dig themselves against a Fulham team that had a few very intelligent and clever players like Berbatov and Ruiz. Players that can strike any second and they already showed it a few times this season.

Or was it just written in the stars that this game would end 3-3? Because it was my second visit in just a few months time that ended in 3-3. If you don’t like that score line, don’t worry I will not be coming over again in the first months.

A final message to you out there in the Emirates: when a team is having a bad run the only way to help the team is to get behind it. No moans or groans have ever won a game of football.

Don’t ask what your club does for you, THINK WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR TEAM!

Continue reading Entertaining, heartbreaking, joy and tears. Just as real life…

In the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. How did the fans air their views?


The internet gives fans the chance to instantly vent.

By Cameron Wolfe.

I well aware of the irony of writing on a blog and talking about not being able too. In my own defence it came from reading so many negative comments. Even here on UA. It crossed my mind that we’re very lucky that we can and what did fans do before the internet was up and running.

Imagine you were an Arsenal fan between 1953 – 1971 (18 years) or one between 1971 – 1989 (18 years) both times eighteen years without a league title. Although they did win the F.A cup in 1979. The Littlewoods Challenge Cup in 1987 (The league cup), the Southern Professional Floodlit Cup (no idea) and in 1958 and the Mercantile Credit Centenary Trophy in 1988 (100 years of the football league celebration trophy).

Now if you were an Arsenal supporter through those two periods of no league titles would the other trophies have sufficed? Or would there still have been disgruntled fans calling for the Manager and the Board to be sacked? Buy better players etc.

If you did want this how would you go about doing so? Mass protests at the ground? A black scarf movement to show your disapproval? Boycott the games? Write to the Evening Standard asking for your Arsenal back? Possibly all four.

Today it’s so much easier to voice your discontent of the team. You can phone talksport and vent in person on the radio or you can come to a place like UA and write a comment on how you feel. It’s so much easier to vent these days. Is that all it is though? Venting about how you feel? After watching an under par performance of YOUR team. You’re unhappy and want to express your opinion on how bad the team/manager/board are. Jump on the bandwagon and follow all the other disgruntled supporters and voice your disapproval in a public domain. It’s easy. You write it and in seconds it appears their in print for everyone to see. We live in such a great technological age. Hell I’m writing this from Canada? No snail mail these days. I just press send and it travels invisibly through cyberspace and  arrives in Tony’s email inbox in secs. Even Nano seconds.

Seriously though. How must’ve those Arsenal fans felt in those two long periods of not competing for the top honours? Fed up? Disillusioned? I’m sure that a lot of fans drifted off and followed another team. Maybe they just went a long to the game in the hope that the team would play better? In the hope that the manager would get the tactics right and they would start winning every game? Maybe they stood on the terraces and hurled abuse at the whole team and the manager? Who knows. Some of the people who comment on UA have been around that long. They do remember those dark times. But they did get better and we went on to win the league. Win doubles. Be in the CL final.

See I can’t help it. Regardless of the result. I always look to the next game and hope that we do turn up. That we do put in a great performance and ultimately we win. Preferably in style.

Last year we were written off before we had kicked a ball. This year seems like we have only just begun and yet the writings on the wall. We’ll be lucky to finish in the top half never mind the top four. Let’s forget that we’re on 16points and ther’e’s still 81 to play for.That’s 94 points all in.  We’re still in all four competitions and with some luck and better performances. We could still ultimately push the others hard for the title. Why not?

I got slated recently for sounding patronising? I shouldn’t be telling supporters how to support Arsenal? I’m not.I wasn’t  I’m just giving my own opinion of how I feel at this current time being an Arsenal fan. As optimistic as when the first day kicked off.

Come the end of the season there’ll be almost twenty teams not in the same position as us and some will be envious of where we finish. Some not. The worst case senario as far as I’m concerned would be. Being relegated. Not being in the CL next year. Falling at the first round of the FA cup. Being beaten in the Capital one cup from lower opposition.  See if none of those things occur then I’ll still be as happy as when the season started. Anything else that we get is a bonus. There’s only four trophies to play for and there are twenty teams all trying to win them. In football just like in life itself anything could happen but again being an optimist I think we’ll still surprise the pundits come May.

I just can’t think any other way.

Bring on those Spuds.

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